CAMPAIGN ON BEHALF OF FALSELY ACCUSED CARERS AND TEACHERS

VOL 3/3

FACTION
FACT, INFORMATION, OPINION and NEWS
In November 2001 the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolfe warned that the convictions of dozens of men for child sexual assaults years after the alleged offence had taken place may be unsafe. Within months of that prophetic announcement the Home Affairs Select Committee stated that they believed that a new genre of miscarriages of justice had arisen from the over enthusiastic pursuit of allegations of historical abuse in care homes. The tide had turned or so we thought!
The Government’s response to the HASC report was predictable. They stated that they could not rely on the “assumptions” which the HASC had made “without the weight of significant and consistent substantiation to back them up” They justified this by saying the Committee had not adequately clarified what was meant by their use of the term ‘miscarriage of justice,’ and that if the concerns they identified involved criminal justice processes they had failed to produced evidence to substantiate this.

September 2006

Freed on Appeal at Last: Convictions Quashed
issues, that there there is no substantive evidence of false allegations having been made, or no evidence of investigative malpractice and injustice. Try telling that to Ian Brooke and John Siddal who just last month won their appeal against conviction (see article on page 6). It is, of course true that no one knows the total picture. The nine cases represented here are ‘F.A.C.T’. cases. They do not include those with which we have had no involvement. Nor do they include scores of ‘domestic’ cases, or the so called ‘cot death’ cases which have been referred to the Court of Appeal. Nor do they include the ever increasing number of not guilty verdicts involving carers, teachers and health care professionals who have been falsely accused of child abuse. Nor do they include the hundreds of cases that occur each year where individuals are accused of child abuse allegations and are subjected to police investigation, only to discover that there is insufficient evidence (and in many cases no evidence whatsoever) to proceed with a Court case. What more evidence does the Government want? F.A.C.T. cannot rejoice in the part it has played in securing these victories - just this last week one of its members; Kevin, was sent to prison for 15 years for offences for which he resolutely maintains his innocence. Clearly we still have a lot to do.

John Mayberry

Mike Lawson

Basil Rigby

Clearly they had not read the Select Committee’s report, or the 131 pages of evidence which informed the Committee’s views. Nor, it seems, have they listened or taken note of what has actually happened since. Try telling the men and women represented here whose convictions have been quashed by the Court of Appeal since the Home Affairs Select Committee began considering these

Guy Perry

Margaret Hewitt
FACTion / September 2006

George Anderson

Daryl Gee

Ian Brooke

John Siddall
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Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers
F.A.C.T is a voluntary organisation which supports carers and teachers who have been falsely accused and/or wrongly convicted of child abuse, and campaigns on their behalf, for changes in investigative practice, and for reform of the criminal justice system.

Editorial
Yet another edition of FACTion - it seemed only a week or two ago that we had the last one. Perhaps it is the hot weather! In this edition you will find several good news stories. I was delighted to hear that Ian Brooke’s and John Siddall’s appeal had been successful. It is also very gratifying to hear of other successes. For some time now F.A.C.T. has been quietly developing its strategy for challenging injustice caused by false allegations of child abuse. One of the reasons why we chose Challenging Public Body Decisions as our last conference theme was because we think it is very important to hold agencies and employers to account. Mind you, I had not expected that you would take our advice so vigorously. News that several F.A.C.T. members have secured justice - whether it be from the Ombudsman or from Employment Tribunals - is very welcome news. What I think these victories show is that in order to make gains we need a ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ approach. It is no use us challenging the Government if employers and professionals are allowed to do as they please. We need to tackle the problem from both ends. I am delighted with the results and congratulate all those concerned. I know that on occasions you may have wondered whether it has been worth it - financially and emotionally. Each victory, however, not only strengthens our position and motivates us, but encourages others in similar positions. It also shows how, by pooling our resources and working together, we can achieve pleasing results - and win! What the cases you will read about in this edition show is that there are certain common threads running through them all. Almost all of them highlight a presumption of guilt, administrative and investigative incompetence, and delay. Whilst it is pleasing that this is beginning to be recognised, we still urgently need a Royal Commission into investigative practice. We should take heart from the Canadian experience. I am also delighted, too, that Dale Dunlop has accepted out invitation to speak at our conference which promises to be a truly international affair as we also hope to welcome John Easling from Australia. I do hope that you will join us for our AGM, and for our conference on 9th September. Good and innocent men are still being imprisoned, and situation in Scotland and Kerelaw in particular, are timely reminders that there is still a lot to do.

Committee and Editorial Team
F.A.C.T. is managed by a national committee who can be contacted as follows: Chairman Secretary Treasurer Lobbying Membership Rory (chairman@factuk.org) 01787 227997 Michael (sec@factuk.org) 02920 777499 Ian (treasurer@factuk.org) 01905 778170 George (lobbying@factuk.org) 0113 2550559 Ian & Joy (membership@factuk.org) 01594 529 237 Gail (press@factuk.org) 02920 513016

Press

Prison & Family Support Joy (support@factuk.org) 01594 529 237 The committee also have 4 other members, David, George, Gordon and Guy who can be contacted via the national secretary.

Contact and Correspondence
All correspondence should be sent to F.A.C.T. P.O. Box 3074, Cardiff, CF3 3WZ or by email to sec@factuk.org F.A.C.T.’s two main regional groups can be contacted at: F.A.C.T. North West, P.O. Box 167, PRENTON, CH26 9AX factnorthwest@factuk.org F.A.C.T. NorthWales P.O. Box 2161, Wrexham, LL139WQ factnorthwales@factuk.org factnorthwales@wrexham.net

FACTION
FACTION is produced at approximately 6-8 week intervals at the national committee’s discretion, and is provided free of charge to F.A.C.T. members. The editorial team welcome articles for publication, of between 150 and 1,500 words, and letters of not more than 200 words. These should be sent, preferably by email, to faction@factuk.org, or by post to FACTION, P.O. Box 3074, Cardiff, CF3 3WZ. The editorial team reserve the right to edit any article or letter sent for publication. All submissions must accompanied by your name and address which, on request, will be withheld from publication. The views contained in FACTion are not necessarily those of F.A.C.T., or its national committee. Contributors should be aware that FACTion also appears on www.factuk.org/faction and therefore is accessible, potentially, to everyone.

Rory

Sponsorship Regretfully it has not been possible to find a sponsor for this edition of FACTion. FACTion cannot exist without sponsorship. If you would like to sponsor the next edition please contact the secretary.

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FACTion / September 2006

‘New’ Scotland Shows ‘Old’ Scotland The Way - The Nova
In what has echoes for Kerelaw, and
Scotland in particular, news that a multimillion Canadian dollar settlement has been reached between the province of Nova Scotia and former youth centre workers wrongly accused of child abuse will cause shivers down the spine of Scottish Establishment, and Glasgow City Council. On the 7th June this year the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia approved an agreement ending the lawsuit by 79 former employees of the Shelburne Youth Centre and Truro School for Girls. (Youth Centres in Canada are the equivalent of Secure Units in the UK) Their nightmare began in the the early 1990's, when one Shelburne worker and two Truro employees were convicted of sexually assaulting students. Subsequently, and over a six-year period, hundreds of workers at these centres were under investigation by the Royal Canadian Police, mostly in relation to historical allegations of child abuse dating back to the 1960's and '70s. A compensation scheme for former inmates at the youth jails was created in the mid-1990's that eventually cost the government over $61 million (£8.5 million) in compensation, counselling and legal fees. Over twelve hundred claims for compensation were processed. In what will be a familiar tale to F.A.C.T. members throughout the UK and Ireland, staff lost their jobs, had their reputations destroyed, and in many instances were hounded from the communities. Marriages were wrecked, family life destroyed, and former employees committed suicide. The Government commissioned retired Quebec judge, Fred
FACTion / September 2006

Kaufman, to probe the institutional compensation program. His inquiry later found the programme proved to be a magnet for fraud. In his hard hitting report released in January 2002, Judge Fred Kaufman said “Abuse is a terrible thing. It forever alters its victims... particularly when they are children. Those who abuse children should be rooted out ... but not at the expense of basic fairness to all concerned. The compensation programme was so flawed that it left in its wake true victims of abuse who are now assumed by many to have defrauded the Government, employees who have been branded as abusers without appropriate recourse, and a public confused and unenlightened about the extent to which young people in care were, or were not, abused by their carers. My report into the Government’s flawed response shows that it failed to meet the needs of its citizens, was fundamentally unfair to some of the Province’s current and past employees, and did a disservice to true victims of abuse.” Following the initial conviction of two workers, the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia spent over $150 million during the period 1993 to 2005 firstly investigating and compensating 1500 alleged victims, and then compensating falsely accused carers. There was not a single charge, let alone a single conviction, laid against over 400 accused carers. In their claim the staff were able to demonstrate that in one incident compensation was paid before the ‘victim’ had even made a complaint. In a now familiar tale many employees were alleged to have

perpetrated abuse even though they were not employees at the time of the alleged incident. It was said money was there for the asking; adverts appeared in newspapers, and there were accounts of former residents driving up to the doors of the institutions concerned asking where they could pick up their cheques. Evidence was given that “employees were caught up in a whirlwind where just about everybody in that group was painted with the same brush: presumed to be an abuser of those entrusted to their care and custody. There is more than enough blame to go around. The media embarked on a feeding frenzy no less brutal than sharks after wounded prey. Plaintiffs gave evidence that they were shunned both by neighbours and co-workers, and treated as though they were all paedophiles or child abusers. In one case even though an employee moved hundreds of miles from his home word got out and he was shunned and the local school board moved the bus stop from outside his house. ... “I have no doubt the [staff] felt alone and under attack. They could even be justified for concluding that their employers, for whom they had given many years loyal service, had
Continued on Page 4
The solicitor acting for the complainants was Dale Dunlop whom we have invited to the UK to address our Autumn Conference. Providing he is able to wrap up his next case in time, Mr Dunlop has accepted our invitation. (Watch the F.A.C.T. web site for an announcement) Mr Dunlop is an internationally recognised expert in this field. Please support him, and us, by coming to the conference and listening to what he has to say.

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turned on them. They found themselves in a position were they were not even afforded basic human rights during the internal investigative process. In some cases, when the investigations began, they did not even know the nature of the complaints but were being asked, even required, to make statements [in their defence]. The compensation programme was an open invitation for false allegations”. Sounds familiar doesn't it! After the Kaufman report was issued, the Justice Minister said the Government accepted Judge Kauffman’s findings, and issued a series of apologies to maligned youth centre workers. Although their lives have been changed for ever, the settlement will hopefully, bring closure to what has been a dreadful experience for them and their families.
Editorial note: A copy of Judge Kaufman‘s report and the subsequent judgements in respect of the staff’s claim for compensation can be accessed from the F.A.C.T. website.

Life as Abuse
by George Williamson
Trials and tribulations There is a widespread belief among large swathes of society that the trials and tribulations of everyday life are no responsibility of theirs to deal with, preferring instead to see them as some form of abuse perpetrated on them. ‘Abuse’ and ‘harm’ and ‘hurt’ (and of course ‘victim’) are much used words. Anything that is disapproved of or irritates or leads to disagreement may be described as ‘abusive’ or ‘harmful’. Many individuals lead resentful and embittered existences and look to someone to blame for normal anxieties which are the reality of human existence. Lacking happiness, therefore, can even be said to be a form of suffering abuse. The simple travails of the family can easily be used to misrepresent parental authority as harmful. Ordinary social interaction is often portrayed as abusive behaviour, especially if offence – however minor - is taken. As for ‘emotional abuse’, its definition has no limits. So society feels like one huge abuse encounter group of hurt individuals, who, of course, are greatly in need of therapy. An abuse ethos Neglect, when it is defined as the failure to respond to an expectation of rights entitlements, no matter how unrealistic the demand, is portrayed as a form of hurt. The exercising of informal power or legitimate authority and any form of coercion can be denounced as abusive behaviour. What was once discipline is now viewed as hurtful. Chastisement of any form can be defined as harming, as can straightforward questioning. Honest, political action can be denounced as damaging to people. Mainstream politics panders to this new culture of ‘hurt’ people and society is in danger of embracing an abuse ethos. How often do we hear someone say,
as they reinvent their childhood with guarded certainty; I feel I was abused or We must have been abused. There is a constant clamour to be recognised as a ‘damaged’ person or group. Living a harmed life is what millions seem to want. This points to the influence of the ‘politic of abuse’ and to a society in danger of being therapised, which is tailor-made for ‘caring’ politicians who want to be needed.

You can help bring an end to the injustice of defending false allegations of historical child abuse by • instructing HAAP to represent you • urging your solicitor to join the Historic Abuse Appeal Panel • depositing YOUR legal papers with HAAP. (All you need to do is contact HAAP and they will send you an authorisation form). • sharing information about your accusers.
www.appealpanel.org

Ready-made opportunity There are regular media items on little-known individuals or hero celebrities, who have fought and survived against the odds, which are enhanced by stating that the person suffered abuse as a child. This angling of their stories adds to the characterisation of society as so totally abusing that even ‘good people’ are abused. So the excitement in the lives of the few and the humdrum life of millions can all be framed within the parameters of abuse, harm and hurt, however vague and ill-defined. Therefore, it is not surprising that people who have grievances about having been in the care system see a ready-made opportunity. To have been in care is abuse per se, the spokespeople for ‘survivor’ groups and the many complainants keep telling the press, the courts and the compensation lawyers. So the false accusers can claim a lot more sympathy points than the moaners among the general public who whine that being alive is just one big abusive trauma.
The next Edition of FACTion will be our Autumn Conference Edition which we are planning to publish by Friday 29th September. Please make sure all copy is sent to the secretary by Friday 15th September . Further editions are planned for the 11th November and the 16th December.

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FACTion / September 2006

North Wales Man Wins Case
Awarded £89,000 plus costs
A North Wales man (who we will refer to as Mr James - not his real name) has been awarded £89,000 plus legal costs by the Local Government Ombudsmen, having been wrongly accused by Wrexham Social Services of abusing his daughter. Public Service Ombudsman, Adam Peat found Wrexham guilty of maladministration and called Wrexham Council’s handling of the mans complaint a “sorry saga”. The report said Mr James’s daughter was seriously ill in hospital with a psychiatric disorder when, in 1997, she made her first allegation, aged 13, that she had been abused by her father. At that time Mr James was working for a North Wales care home; his wife was employed as social worker by Wrexham Borough Council. Despite this, no action was taken by the social services department to investigate under section 47 of the Children Act 1989, as the department took the view that it could not investigate the allegation without his daughter’s consent. Mr James was not informed of the allegation. She made further serious allegations against her father in 1998, and again in 1999 and 2000. She implicated Mrs James and other relatives in some of these. On each occasion social services decided not to investigate the allegations as his daughter would not give her consent. Four years after her original allegation against her father, she alleged that he had recently raped her. The Council then initiated a section 47 investigation, which was undertaken by the NSPCC. The police informed Mr James of his daughter’s latest allegations against him. She subsequently withdrew her allegations and the police took no further action. The NSPCC compiled two reports before a child protection case conference was convened a year later. By this time, Mr and Mrs James
FACTion / September 2006

had a second child. The case conference recommended that Mr and Mrs James’s sons be placed on the Child Protection Register. Mr and Mrs James appealed this decision, as they “It takes these statutory claimed the investigation of Mr responsibilities very seriously. This James’ daughter’s allegations had was a complex case which began been inadequate and the allegations nearly 10 years ago and a number of against them were false. The decision to register actions had already was upheld at been carried out to major lessons appeal. address any lessons for future

Terry Garner, Wrexham's strategic director for children and young people, said, “It is important to point out that the local authority has a duty to safeguard and protect children who may be at risk of harm whilst at the same time considering the rights and responsibilities of parents.”

learned.” The council is Mr and Mrs James practice need to be considering its sought independent learnt from this response but said steps advice from sorry saga ... F.A.C.T, from an had already been taken independent social by relevant agencies. worker, and from a lawyer. A F.A.C.T. North Wales spokesman The independent social worker said “we are delighted to have assisted in concluded that there was no this case and congratulate Mr and Mrs evidence that the children had ever James and their advisors on their success. been at risk from their parents. He Unfortunately this is one of a number of was also critical of the Council’s recent cases in which Wrexham Borough action and the way the NSPCC Council have been severely criticised for its carried out its investigation on their handing of child allegations concerning behalf. members of its staff. In 2002, when this Mr Peat found that, had the council case was in its infancy, a senior male social investigated the initial allegation work manager, who was under promptly and effectively in 1997, the investigation for alleged child abuse and allegation would not have been had been suspended for almost 5 years, was substantiated and the subsequent sacked. Eighteen months later he was course of events would have been reinstated. It understood that the very different. disciplinary panel who re-instated him were He said he found the council's not only very critical of the Council’s own “repeated, prolonged and serious handling of his case but also the quality maladministration” was “a major and accuracy of the independent report causal factor” in the man's which they had commissioned from the breakdown and loss of livelihood. NSPCC, and relied upon. He recommended the council pay In 2003, a well respected female senior the man's legal costs, plus £84,000 manger was also sacked, and reinstated by for loss of income, and pay the man Wrexham County Borough Council and his wife £5,000 each “in following an acrimonious dispute with her recognition of the extreme distress managers. which the council's maladministration has caused the family”. In February 2006, the North East Wales Mr Peat said: “It is evident that major lessons for future practice needed to be learnt from this sorry saga”. Coroner was also very critical of Wrexham Borough Council’s handling of child protection meeting which led to a school support worker killing himself.”
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Why Did These Two Men Have To Go to Prison? Convictions Quashed After Serving Sentence
Two men who served long jail terms over children's home sex abuse claims have had their names cleared after top judges were told their alleged victim was a “theatrical attention-seeker”.
Convictions Unsafe Three appeal court judges heard evidence that a girl, whose allegations sparked Operation Clyde, which led to 17 court cases, a number of sackings and the closure of 10 children's homes, had told many dubious stories of sexual abuse as a child and as a grown-up. Unreliable Witness In the Appeal Court the Judges said the convictions of John Siddall, 46, from Kirklees, and Ian Brooke, 47, from Batley, were unsafe. Each was convicted of assaults against more than one girl - at homes in Dewsbury and Mirfield - but the evidence was inter-dependent and all the convictions were overturned because of doubts about the reliability of a witness known as RW, now a 35year-old mother. She was 13 when the offences allegedly took place in the mid 1980s. Following these convictions the same witness had also made allegations against another care worker, Wilf Jolley. At his trial she was found to have lied to the Police and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, and he was also acquitted. Operation Clyde She started talking to police about in 1996 and that led to Operation Clyde. Kirklees Council called in the NSPCC to work with police on a three-year investigation which dug up allegations by other children against social services and education staff, going back to the 1960s. The two men were jailed at the end of the huge police operation, Operation Clyde. Their probe centred on allegations of physical and sexual abuse at 17 residential homes in Kirklees. A total of 2,226 people
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were questioned, 42 arrested and three convicted. Most of the 17 prosecutions failed, but Mr Siddall and Mr Brooke and another man were convicted in 1999 and 2000. Compensation Kirklees Council closed homes and took action against dozens of staff. Some were sacked and others felt obliged to leave. Some were later compensated for unfair treatment and Kirklees Council settled out of court, at undisclosed cost, with 69 people who claimed they had been abused while they were children in its care. Shock Tactics Meanwhile, female staff had made notes on RW’s tendency to make up stories. She told them she had been raped by twelve Asian taxi drivers but she told other versions elsewhere. A report uncovered after the men's conviction, and written when she was fourteen, said: "RW thrives on exaggerating events to their most theatrical extremes. She employs shock tactics in an attempt to convince adults that her problems are more serious than anyone else's." New Evidence New evidence disclosed that R had made a separate rape allegation over an attack in Salford in Nov. 1986, which the authorities considered to be a "complete fabrication". After giving evidence at Leeds Crown Court about her story of abuse in Dewsbury and Mirfield, she went to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and told a different version. When her own children were referred to social services, she came up with more stories. Criminal Cases Review Commission Eventually, doubts about her truthfulness were presented to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which recommended they be put before the Court of Appeal. Mr Siddall was sentenced to four years in

1999 and Mr Brooke was sentenced to 10 years in 2000, but both were released before the case got to appeal. Kirklees Social Services said: “It was a long and complex enquiry and we put all the evidence available to us before the courts.”

In giving their Judgement the Appeal Court Judges were scathing in their criticism of the Criminal Cases Review Commission for the abysmal delay in presenting the case, and for the lamentable way in which the case papers and files had been presented to the Court. Documents were provided in unwieldy, loose bundles and unpaginated. As a result, considerable time was wasted at the pre-hearing and hearing stage, which had they not been sorted could have had an adverse effect on the appellants case.
Need For A Royal Commission Speaking after the judgement was delivered,Michael Barnes, secretary of a campaign called F.A.C.T., (Falsely Abused Carers and Teachers), said a Royal Commission to look into investigative practice in cases of alleged child abuse was urgently needed. Rory O’Brien, chairman of F.A.C.T. said he was delighted with the the news. “I know both families are very grateful for all the support they have received from F.A.C.T., and from its members.”

“We very much hope that Ian, Bev, their children and the Siddall family will all be able to put this behind them. These men, however, should never have been convicted in the first place let alone sent to prison. Both were not only required to serve long sentences before gaining an appeal, but also had to wait an unnecessarily long time for the case to be heard because of administrative failings. They have been the victims of a thoroughly unreliable serial false accuser. What action will be taken against her ?”
FACTion / September 2006

Coventry Teacher With 23 years Unblemished Record “Unfairly Sacked”
A Coventry teacher and F.A.C.T. member has spent four years trying to clear his name after being sacked from a special school. John Whitehead was sacked following an accident when a pupil’s finger was trapped in a door. John Whitehead was dismissed by Corley Special School, Coventry, for gross misconduct even though police decided not to pursue their investigation into claims he deliberately injured the boy. John has spent four years trying to clear his name. whole thing has completely muddied my name." The married father-of-two was key stage 4 manager at Corley school, which caters for children with moderate learning difficulties, when the incident happened. At an earlier tribunal hearing, it was revealed that trouble flared between pupils in March 2002.

Unfairly dismissed This week an employment tribunal ruled that the teacher, who had an unblemished 23-year work record, had been unfairly dismissed and said that the school's disciplinary procedures were deeply flawed.
John was represented by Jenny Watson, who is well known to F.A.C.T. members.

Tried to Prevent a Confrontation The tribunal was told Mr Whitehead’s action was to try and stop one teenager pushing into a room to confront a fellow pupil, but as a door closed, it trapped the youngster's hand, breaking one finger and bruising others.
The teacher was suspended from his £35,000-a-year post and police were called. Although officers decided there was no case to answer, governors at the school ruled that Mr Whitehead had been reckless and, after an investigation taking more than two years, sacked him in July 2004. The teacher, who has spent more than £20,000 attempting to clear his name, took the school and Coventry Council to a tribunal in May and this week it delivered its verdict, exonerating him.

wrongly been allowed to sit on the appeal panel.

They decided, however, that Mr Whitehead did not handle the situation as well as he should and reduced his compensation by half. The tribunal will make a later judgement over costs, although Mr Whitehead said he was likely to be left heavily out of pocket. He has found part-time work as a cook, and teaches occasionally at a special school and FE college, but said that his long-term career prospects were in ruins. Gail Saunders, of the campaign group Falsely Accused Teachers and Carers, said: “As a result of a single unfounded allegation of cruelty towards a pupil, his career and reputation have been destroyed. This case clearly demonstrates how the investigative procedure which follows a complaint against a teacher is often conducted in a manner which fails to offer any protection whatsoever to the teacher against spurious allegations.” Coventry Council and the school, which is now under the leadership of a new head teacher, declined to comment. We understand Mr Whitehead is appealing against the Panel’s finding that he was in part to blame for the accident.
Editorial note: This article has been compiled from several press reports, the text of the Tribunals findings, and from discussions with Mr Whitehead himself. We wish him every success in his appeal

Delays in the Investigation Tribunal members criticised the huge delay in the school's investigation, its refusal to interview all witnesses and claims that the then head teacher put pressure on governors to sack Mr Whitehead.
It was also revealed that the teacher's first disciplinary hearing had to be abandoned after one of the governors fell asleep. Critics this week said that the case highlighted the need for urgent action to tighten up rules governing schools' investigations of alleged abuse of pupils by teachers.

Catalogue of Errors
The Ombudsmen Report highlighted a catalogue of investigative errors, principally the “extensive delay” in the school's own investigation. The headteacher, who has since left the school, was criticised for “retaining information relating to an unproven allegation”, and putting a statement to governors on Mr Whitehead's disciplinary panel which was “prejudicial”. Governors themselves were also criticised. As well as the sleeping governor, the tribunal revealed their approach to hearing litigation was “flawed” and a teacher-governor had

Who Is Going to Employ Me ? Mr Whitehead said: "Who is going to want to employ someone who has been out of work for four years with an assault allegation hanging over their head? Even supply agencies won't touch me. This
FACTion / September 2006

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Kerelaw School - A Contrary Point of View
I know Matt George. I know John Muldoon. I knew many of the young people accommodated at Kerelaw School over the period April 1988 to Jan. 1997. Miscarriage of Justice I have concerns that we are now witnessing a grave miscarriage of justice. My experience of working with John and Matt over an eight year period does not ring true with the press coverage I have been reading over the last few months about their conviction after jury trial, and sentence. This is said with all due respect to Lady Paton the presiding judge, and members of the jury, who seemed to struggle with reaching a decision. There were originally 85 charges, spanning a period of 30 years. Matt George was found guilty of 18 charges, and John Muldoon guilty of four charges. Beyond All Reasonable Doubt? The standard of evidence required in court has to be confirmed in law as “beyond all reasonable doubt”. I have concerns that there is a substantial opinion of doubt. I am also concerned as to the use of the legal principle, referred to as the “Moorov doctrine”, in this particular case. There are many examples in case law of unsound convictions secured on this principle being overturned on appeal. Many Good Stories Out There Looking after other people's children can be a thankless task - or a most rewarding experience. I can only speculate as to which of these thoughts are occupying the minds of John and Matt as they begin their respective lengthy prison sentences. Spare a thought please for their children and families. I sincerely hope that some of the many young people who were accommodated at Kerelaw over the years will now come forward in support of Matt and John. There are many “good
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news” stories out there. Young people who have come out the other end of the residential care system, from Kerelaw School, now making their way in life, married, with families, and appreciative of the help they received at an earlier stage in their adolescent lives. This is the other unsung and unknown legacy of Kerelaw School.

and relatives, had no identified “home base”, and who would require additional support in the “through care” process. Sadly, there were too many children in this category. These young peeole often had experiences of multiple care placements prior to being placed in Kerelaw (15 to 20 prior placements not uncommon).

Hardly Credible If there was any wrong doing, any blame to be attributed, it is shameful in my view that it is now being carried by two decent and hard working ex members of the Kerelaw community. I do not excuse any offence behaviour against children and young people, and would always advocate openness and transparency in any complaints and investigation procedure. This was my clear understanding and experience of policy, practice and procedure at Kerelaw School. More importantly, this was the message that was regularly communicated to young people and staff. It seems hardly credible to me that alleged offences have suddenly come to light against two members of staff covering a period from 1975 to 2003. Not A Closed Institution Kerelaw was not a “closed institution” - visitors, families and friends were regularly welcomed and open days/parents evenings were an integral part of care, linking in children and young people with their respective families, carers, and communities of origin. The majority of young people accommodated maintained contact with their families by means of regular weekend and holiday leave: each young person had their own care plan, which of necessity focused on the need for the young person to move on from residential care to rehabilitation within the community. A project was set up to recruit weekend and holiday carers for those young peeole who had long since been rejected by their own families

A Last Opportunity In addition, those previous placements were often “failed” and rejecting experiences for the young people concerned. Kerelaw was the last opportunity to “hold on”, address root causes of discontent, and establish positive and meaningful working relationships with the care and teaching staff: further failure would inevitably result in young peeole being abandoned to the adult criminal justice system. John and Matt were at the forefront in working with these teenagers. John and Matt seemed to have the capacity to break through the feelings of depression and sense of hopelessness which they carried, but this required tremendous commitment, sense of purpose, and high levels of tolerance on their part on a day to day basis. They had their faults but ... John and Matt would be the first to admit they had their faults, but they cared overwhelmingly for children and young people, and made many personal sacrifices to ensure those youngsters entrusted to their care and protection were looked after, and plans put in place to address their many needs. They were, in my experience, committed and reliable staff members, who provided support to young people and leadership to staff teams. They felt strongly that care could only be provided within a regime of reasonable control. Children were often admitted from other settings when they were deemed to be out of control, angry with themselves,
FACTion / September 2006

their families, offending against communities, and frequently placing themselves seriously at risk. They were often admitted to Kerelaw with no commitment to engage with anyone in authority - rather, antiauthority behaviour would continue to find expression in the day to day task.

Unit to the Open School (still with secure conditions on their statutory orders), often caused significant disruption to young people and staff in the open school. This procedure required the authority of the Director of Social Work and Head of Kerelaw. The pressure was incessant.

A danger to themselves and others Many young people admitted to secure accommodation were in serious physical and moral danger, often removed directly from the streets in the city of Glasgow, where they would be the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. They would often be abusing drugs and alcohol, and also self-abusing their bodies. The residential care task was demanding and complex. Considerable patience, skill and tolerance was required. Staff can regularly be subject to verbal and physical abuse, often at the end of a twelve hour shift, and unable to leave to get home to their own families. I know, it happened to me. It happened to John and Matt. Working at the Sharp End Kerelaw school operated at the very “sharp end” of residential child care, with secure accommodation on the campus. There could be up to 90 children and young people accommodated at any given time in the open school and secure unit (24 young people), with multiple admissions/discharges every day of the week. The school was massively under-resourced, and staff recruitment was always a problem. Care plans put in place for individual children were often disrupted by the constant change in composition of groups of young people in individual house units. This “practice” was often implemented as a result of external pressures brought to bear, in terms of increasing and urgent demands for new referrals and admissions to Kerelaw Secure Unit. Incessant Pressure Unplanned accelerated movements of young people out of the Secure
FACTion / September 2006

Cinderella Service Residential child care is often referred to nationally as the “cinderella service”, with insufficient resources directed towards staff training. Kerelaw School has now closed, but there are still many young people being looked after in residential schools in Scotland, and an increasing number assessed as in need of secure provision, with new units being opened. I am sure that, as of this date, there will not be one secure vacancy in any provision currently available in Scotland. Many residential child care staff presently working in similar settings such as Kerelaw, will be feeling rather uncomfortable at this time, in the wake of the Kerelaw investigation, with mixed emotions, feelings, and concerns. Demanding and Stressful Work Residential child care is demanding and stressful work. Society still carries ambivalent attitudes about what is meant by oft-quoted phrases such as “acting in the best interests of the welfare of the child”, “listening to the child's view”, “child-centred planning”, “minimum statutory intervention”
Statutory regulation is invariably imposed with scant regard for the consequences (some of which are not very child friendly at all).

people. The children's “rights” agenda requires to be balanced with more discussion about "responsibilities" and "citizenship". Residential child care staff have been in the past, and are today, working under stress and are placed at risk: physical, emotional and psychological. More tolerance, insight and understanding is required in our response to the accusations presently being levelled against a number of ex-Kerelaw employees.

Waiting to Happen Another “Kerelaw” exposition is waiting to happen, if the spotlight of inquisition is transferred elsewhere, and if young people continue to be manipulated by more irresponsible adults who are pursuing their own agenda. Maintaining Their Innocence Meantime John and Matt are incarcerated within HM Prison and still maintaining their innocence. I support them in the stance they are taking. They remain my excolleagues, and friends. I ask others, who also know Matt and John, to make their views known, and to support their families in their quest to get at the truth.
Editorial Note: This is an edited version of a

Letters Don’t forget - we welcome your comments on any subject which may be of concern or interest to falsely accused carers and teachers. Articles should be sent to FACTion PO Box 3074 Cardiff CF3 3WZ or by email to faction@factuk.org Articles Articles of between 20 and 2,000 words are also appreciated: preferably typed or by email.

Care and Control Continuum The optimum balance between “care” and “control” is at times hard to gauge, and, one thing is for sure, always open to criticism from those wishing to express an opinion and to pass judgement: often, I regret, from those with the least knowledge and experience of working with young

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“Let's Track Paedo’s With Chip Implants” by John Lettice
Shall we just believe in witchcraft while we're about
Britain's most senior policeman has, according to a Sunday Times report, suggested that surgically implanted chips could be used in order to track the movements of paedophiles and dangerous sex offenders. “If we are prepared to track cars, why don’t we track people? You could put surgical chips into those of the most dangerous sex offenders who are are willing to be controlled,” said Ken Jones, president of ACPO. Well Ken, where shall we begin? Should we explain that the chip you're talking about would have round about the same capabilities as the RFID chip that's going into ICAO standard passports? That the kind of technology you're probably going to insist on can only be read in close proximity to a reading device? That if you tried really hard (and we're sure people will), you could read it at maybe 10, maybe 30 metres? That satellites are actually quite far away? Or that what GPS does is tell a reading device on the ground where it is, which would only help paedophiles if they were lost. If it's going to help you then you need to insert another bit of technology (a mobile phone maybe and where would you stick that?), that would pass the location over to you. To grasp the full horror of the situation, one should be aware that top UK cops have a whole IT unit, the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) available to them, and in that sense really ought to be a tad better informed than some technology-challenged couch potato who's been conned into chipping themselves as a protection against kidnappers. And given that in the face of all the evidence - the Home Office remains mustard-keen on making the UK penal system totally tag-tastic, one really would expect a top cop to have some passing familiarity with the capabilities (and, ahem, size) of current tagging technology. Jones suggests a “pilot scheme for the people who represent the highest risk and who would voluntarily want to go into this. You’d be surprised how many would be willing to submit to that kind of control,” while the Times report suggests the chips “could also monitor the heart rate and blood pressure of the offender, alerting authorities to the possible imminence of an attack.” We can't tell whether it was Jones or some unnamed loon who came up with this corker, but even if we didn't already know how catastrophic the monitoring of existing tagging systems is, it's clearly a non-starter. What evidence do we have that paedophiles undergo a werewolf-like transition immediately before striking? And if they do, to what extent do the vital signs differ from those produced by, say, running for a bus? Clearly, it's nuts! The Times does however have some support from (aha...) a boffin from Reading University. Dr William Harwin of the cybernetics department tells us tags like this are already available, and that: “similar tracking chips are already extensively used on pets and livestock.” A swift scan of Harwin's work suggests that his area of expertise is robotics, hapeatics interfaces and remote fondling, so he's probably not as culpable as his colleague Captain Cyborg, who's been misleading a willing press about people chipping for years. And another thing... Ken Jones' statement that “If we are prepared to track cars, why don't we track people?” shouldn't be allowed to pass unnoticed. It is actually Jones and ACPO who are prepared to track
FACTion / September 2006

cars. Those of you who might think you're part of “we” but have no recollection of being asked about the matter are slap-bang on the money. ACPO has been happily constructing and publicising a 24hr/7dpw vehicle movement database intended to cope with 50 million records a day by the end of this year. As it is doing this by simply adding more ANPR cameras and joining them and existing surveillance systems up to a network and database, it hasn't needed to ask either “we” or our elected representatives. Has it?
Editorial note. This article first appeared on The Register

Birthday Congratulations

Do enjoy the day as best as best as you can - we’ll light a candle this end - all you have to do is blow it out!

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Honoured Head Teacher Calls for Change in the Law
A head teacher wrongly accused of striking a pupil called for a change in the law to allow teachers to sue those who make false allegations against them, when she was presented with an honoury degree by Stratchclyde University. The degree was awarded for her services to education. Mary Macdonald, who was made a Dame of the British Empire last year, was wrongly accused by a parent of hitting a pupil. As soon as the parent made the accusation; Mrs Macdonald called in the police and local education authority officials who carried out an investigation that cleared her of any wrongdoing. Dame Mary said she was angry that her accuser could make a spurious allegation against her. She said: “My experience was dealt with very quickly, but there were never any charges brought against the parent, who was later cautioned for a breach of the peace on an unrelated matter.” Mrs Macdonald, who is in charge of Riverside Primary, in Meadow Well, North Tyneside, said she was aware of cases where teachers had resigned or their relationships had been damaged by false complaints. Earlier in the week a fellow Head Teacher, Bruce Hickman, had been cleared of wrongdoing after a police investigation into allegations relating to the showering of a disabled boy brought before the courts. But I am becoming increasingly concerned with the number of cases which are later proven to be false. In some local education authorities, as soon as an allegation is made, the teacher is suspended and it is the children's education that suffers.” The National Association of Headteachers is backing her campaign, along with Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell. Dame Mary said “If a woman accuses a man of rape and makes spurious allegations, that woman will be taken to court and prosecuted. But if a parent accuses a teacher, and that is proven to be spurious, nothing happens. The end result is that such people have nothing to lose in making an allegation. I want to see a law in place where there are repercussions for people who make false allegations.”

in his school. Dame Mary said: “The protection of children is something we should all take seriously and, if there are people in our schools intent on abusing children, they should be

Home Affairs Select Committee to Review Workings of Criminal Cases Review
The HASC will take oral evidence from Professor Graham Zellick, Chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, on Tuesday 10 October at 10.15 a.m. This will be a single evidence session and is not part of a longer inquiry. It is expected that the Committee will cover a range of current issues relating to the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission. This session will take place in either a Palace of Westminster or Portcullis House committee room. This session will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis. In advance of the session the Committee is seeking short written submissions from interested parties, highlighting issues which should be raised at this meeting. Such evidence should not exceed 1,000 words and should be submitted no later than Monday 4 September. F.A.C.T. will be making a submission and will highlight a number of issues including:• Funding, cutbacks and resources • Need for fast tracking of cases where applicants are over retirement age • Delays and quality of submissions • Need to change evidential threshold. If you have issues which you would like raised with the Committee please let us know. This is your opportunity to influence public policy and to make a difference to those who depend on the Criminal Cases Review Commission in order to achieve justice. Alternatively, if you want to make your own submission we will be pleased advise you. Phone 02920 777 499 or email sec@factuk.org.

FACTion / September 2006

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Northern Ireland Children's Commissioner Rapped The Children's Commissioner (Northern Ireland) has been warned about public statements his office issued following an Ombudsman’s probe into controversial remarks made during the bitter Laurelhill Community College dispute when over 50 staff went out on strike when a pupil who had made allegations against a teacher returned to the school.
The remarks made at the time by former Children's Commissioner, the late Nigel Williams, related to allegations of assault made against the teacher at the heart of the row, David Bell. Following a complaint by Mr Bell, who was falsely accused of indecent assault by a female pupil, Northern Ireland Ombudsman, Tom Frawley has asked the interim Commissioner, Barney McNeany, to remove the controversial remarks from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People's web-site. He said the remarks "were expressed in such a way that a reader could reasonably have inferred that a much more serious incident in terms of physical assault had transpired at Laurelhill College than that explained to the court”. He added: "I have asked the interim Commissioner to note my comments in relation to the standards which I expect to see reflected in public statements issued by Bodies within my jurisdiction, and to bring these to the attention of all staff (in the Northern Ireland Commission for Children and Young People) to ensure that he and his staff avoid a recurrence of the imbalance which I am satisfied occurred in this instance.” Editorial comment:. We congratulate David Bell and his trade union for their perseverance and determination to secure justice.This case is another example of how falsely accused staff can effectively call employers and child protection agencies to account.
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We have received a number of letters regarding Megans law. This is typical of those we have received. Dear Editors, I write to ask, once again, for your support. Firstly, may I update you on my personal situation? It is now 27 months since I was released from Her Majesty’s Prison where I had served an eighteen month prison sentence for a alleged crime against two ex-pupils, brothers, (nearly twenty years ago) for which I still maintain my total innocence. I was very grateful for the scores of friends who supported me during those dark months. Prison, in spite of what the media may say, is not very pleasant; at times it is harsh, cruel, violent and raw. Since my release, I have tried to re-establish what passes as normality. I have taken a French evening class. I play the organ at a local church where the incumbent has been so very supportive. I have failed to get any employment; who wants to employ a sex-offender for even the most menial work? My file is with the HAAP, who are meant to be reviewing my case which has, as far as I can make out, not progressed an iota. If I was waiting for NHS treatment at least I would know how long I would have to wait; in the case of justice I do not - this year? Next year? When? My reason for writing: the Home Secretary, perhaps in his desire to divert attention from recent failings of his department, has decided to have a go at sex offenders – whether guilty or innocent. This is probably a “popular target” and will appeal to the tabloid press. He has sent a senior minister from the Home Office, Jerry Sutcliffe MP to visit the USA to ascertain their policy of revealing the names of sex offenders to anyone in the community who wishes to know. At the time of my appearance at a magistrates’ court in 1992, once my identity and address was published, I

received a brick through the window of my house; I know how terrifying and intimidating it is. If the Government goes ahead and sets up a scheme where such details become public, the result will be that all on the sex offenders’ register, guilty or innocent, will either “disappear” and no-one, even the police, will know where they are or, if they sit tight, they wait for the mobs and vigilante patrols and then receive bricks, verbal abuse, car-keying, or petrol or excrement through the letter box. What would you advise me to do? Please may I ask your support? 1. Will you write to your MP at the House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1 demanding his opposition to this proposal, and that he makes the folly of such a move known to the Home Secretary. Please also ask him for his response to you. 2. Will you please also copy this letter and send or email to any of your friends and colleagues who you think would also be prepared to write? If this USA law is allowed to become law here, the consequences are unthinkable. Please will you help? Yours sincerely Name supplied but withheld

Stre-e-e-e-tching the truth! It begins at an early age !
A little boy told his mother that there were twins in his class at school. "That's nice," said mother, "Do they look alike?" "Of course," was the reply, "John looks exactly like James but James doesn't look a bit like John."

Sent in by Iris; thankyou- very apt!

FACTion / September 2006

On the FACT website

THIS edition’s trawl (horrible word that) of the F.A.C.T. web site begins with long overdue news that the Government intend to open up the Family Court System. For far too long Family Courts have been secret enclaves. The website also reports another surprising move involving Terry Grange, ACPO’s lead officer on child protection. With uncharacteristic good sense he states that Government policy on paedophiles is being driven by a tabloid newspaper campaign. Mr Grange later told BBC Radio 4's the World Tonight that the Home Office was pandering to the tabloid paper and News of the World in particular, and it is wrong to do so". There is good news from Canada which seems to be leading the way to a common sense approach to those who make false allegations of child abuse. A teacher is to sue 22 students and their parents for falsely accusing him of entering a female locker room. When asked about the unorthodox step of suing child accusers his solicitor said "This is certainly a somewhat unusual situation. There's no denying that the law allows children to be liable for intentional torts or wrongdoing against another. Parents can legally be held liable for up to $5,000 in damages for torts committed by their child”, he added. "I can assure you that we didn't do this lightly. ... but after careful deliberation we felt justified if not compelled to do this.” July began with news of 10 further arrests in the Kerelaw investigation. Also in July’ Florence Horsman Hogan was hospitalised with a heart problem. We are pleased to report that she is on the mend and campaigning as vigorously as ever.
FACTion / September 2006

There is also coverage of an excellent article by Jeremy Lindsay, a barrister who argues that there is no convincing argument for the onesided anonymity in rape reporting. He believes that the accused should be given the same protection as the accuser. He argues, “What’s wrong with anonymity for both sides until the completion of the appeal process, if there is one? If Parliament is not willing to go that far (and can explain its reasoning as to why not in a few simple paragraphs), then should anonymity be removed from those complainants who tell lies? Too radical? Perhaps. Does it really matter anyway, because: ‘Well, he did it, didn’t he?’ Perhaps Parliament is more willing than Jeremy Lindsay thinks. Ben Chapman the MP for Wirral South secured a debate in Parliament on anonymity for defendants accused of sexual abuse. During the debate Mr Chapman said “This is not, of course, a new issue, nor is it a simple one. I should say at the outset that it is right that complainants should enjoy anonymity. We may be in a slightly better position now than a few years ago. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mrs. Curtis-Thomas) for her tireless efforts on behalf of teachers and carers falsely accused of sexual abuse. Indeed, a number of organisations are campaigning for the interests of the falsely accused— Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers, or FACT, Supporting All Falsely Accused with Reference Information, or SAFARI, and the False Allegations Support Organisation, to name but three. They campaign across a diverse range of issues within that broad area, including anonymity, although some of their aims in that respect differ. The F.A.C.T. news section also carries the usual stories of political correctness gone mad. None more so than the insane, PC (or is it CP?) paranoia about “inappropriate”

touching of children. What was the storm about? Alan Barrett, a 58-yearold vicar called resigned from the board of governors of William MacGregor primary school in Staffordshire because he’d given a 10-year-old girl a lone peck on the forehead during the course of publicly congratulating her for improving at maths. Social services and the police eventually concluded that Barrett had no case to answer. I bet that took a lot of working out! On the same theme there is story about men in Wales being advised not to approach lost children in the street because of fears they could be branded as child abusers. Surprise, surprise the report acknowledged that men, especially men, are reluctant to take a lost child to a person in authority in case their action is misconstrued as attempted child abduction. Another item which caught our eye was news that a girl from Wiltshire, which seems to be a bit of a hotbed for false allegations of rape, wasted more than 120 hours police work when a team of 14 officers was set up to find a rapist who never existed. There are also a number of stories about the former Hull city council leader and police authority chairman being cleared [17th July 2006] of five allegations of indecent assault against a teenage boy at a Hull Children's Home more than 20 years ago. The jury returned its majority verdict after they heard the complainant describe how Inglis, allegedly performed sex acts on him when he was a resident at Spring Cottage Children's Home in Hull where Inglis worked as a social worker. Finally, on a topical note there is coverage of a report by the Metropolitan Police and Prison Service's anti-corruption unit, that at least 1,000 prison staff are corrupt, and more than 500 are in "inappropriate relationships" with prisoners. The Prison Service said the report overstated the corruption issue. It’s not nice being falsely accused is it?
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In My Opinion ...
What A Difference a Dame Makes by Anthony A Andrews
Dear Agony Aunt ... I'm beginning to think that I should spend much less time thinking. Among the few blessings I count is that I can read and write. Those skills were a definite and huge plus while I was in prison. It's well known that the illiteracy levels in prison are high, but ask anyone who's been there and they'll tell you that, if anything, the numbers ‘outsiders’ hear are huge underestimates. I was able to use a good library and I had family who sent in so many books for me that one of the screws suggested I start my own library service! I lost much of the 18 months I spent in jail travelling in my head to other places and times, through the words of writers.
I visited foreign countries. I sailed with real and imagined pirates and explorers on the high seas. I used to go sailing in my former life, so was informed, intrigued and interested in such full measure that many of those times I might have spent in the misery of confinement were, instead, spent in remote parts of the world, enjoying sights and sounds, scents and sensations that I will probably never come near to in reality. I devoured newspapers. I've never felt so informed about what was going on in the world. Of course much of what I paid special attention to had to do with my own situation. Blunkett suggesting compulsory lie detector tests for sex offenders at the same time as he was lying through his teeth about his extra marital hobby prompted me to write to The Times for the first time in my life, suggesting that I would be happy to take such a test as long as he did the same, that my accusers also be made to take them, that we would all be bound by the results, and, finally, that my accusers, shown to be liars on oath, would receive at a minimum the same sentence that I had for their perjury. I thought it was a good idea. There were many things that took my attention in the news, and all helped to pass time. And time really is the enemy. Time destroys some people in jail. It is not the loss of freedom, not the separation from family, not the passing of a lifetime of valued respect, not the scant hope of appeal, not horrible conditions (they actually aren't), not other prisoners (most are not too difficult to get on with), not most of the things that "free" people think must be hard to bear, it is, quite definitely and without hesitation, time. Prisoners must learn individually how they do their time. What works for me might be dreadful for you, but we both have to have a way of getting through it. Those people who never find a way of doing the time are the ones who really suffer, and who occasionally end up dead. Mostly I read my way through my time. There were other things to do, of course. I had to, like all prisoners, to "work", and I'm proud to say that, having spent 18 months in a ‘productive and worthwhile’ trade, learning "skills" that would be "useful" after my release, I can press a mean pair of jeans. Computer illiterate, I was encouraged to enrol on a beginner's course by a cousin's offer of her daughter's redundant computer (redundant because it was "too basic" for her by now!) following my eventual release. I really enjoyed it, but don't think I am now very competent. I can just about operate the thing and that's a country mile in front of what I used to be able to do. At least I'm now able to laugh at the thought I used to have that I would somehow erase the thing's entire memory just by switching it off! Naturally, the computer course introduced me to the "education" department, and some very pleasant tutors, so I embarked on cookery skills, enabling me to produce no more than I was able to previously in the kitchen at home, but (what the heck) it passed time. It had the disadvantage of preventing me from pursuing my “career” in the laundry, but I reluctantly decided that something would have to be sacrificed in the name of furthering my schooling. I also did basic courses in English (as you can tell, I learned little) and Maths (and I can't do that either). I attended an acting workshop and took part in the most excruciatingly embarrassing production of a version of “The Christmas Carol”, as “the ghost who says nothing” (Thank goodness: a spoken part wasn't given to me to make me feel even more embarrassed!). I met some very nice and some highly educated people, as well as some who were as dense as a bucketful of lead, and I spent quite a lot of time in pleasant company despite everything. It was, by no means, all terrible, though I would never choose to go back! It certainly has been no bed of roses since I came out. My (rented) home had gone and I had to live in an “approved premises” (Probation Hostel) for 8 months. I had very little money. I was very intimidated by the Sex Offenders’ Register business. I couldn't work (all that “training” gone to waste!). The Probation Service demanded a say in where I live, and I thought that would mean they would support me in my wish not to live where my accusers come from, but they didn't, and I'm back in the town I
FACTion / September 2006

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came from, living in fear. But I do prefer it (I think, and, no, I'm not actually 100% positive) to being in prison. I can visit my far-flung family. I can go shopping. I can plan a holiday (but heaven knows how or when I might be able to pay for one from my Pension Credits!). There are many things I can do that were impossible in prison, and I do do some of them. But a lot of the time I think. Most of what I think you don't want to know about because it has to do with really unpleasant things like fear, and the retribution that sometimes I want to see exacted on some opportunistic lying bastards. And definitely NO, I cannot see one of the eight people who lied about me as any kind of vicarious victim of a skewed police, judicial and compensation system. They all chose to lie. They all had ample time (more than two years) to consider their lies, to consider the possible effects on a man they quite positively knew to be innocent and to retract their lies. They all chose to proceed. And still, there are more pleasant things to think about. My family were able to “rescue” the majority of my things from the house I wasn't expecting to leave for my enforced holiday, and I'm now living in a very comfortable, but much smaller, house. I'm trying to get the place as I want it, but it constantly looks a mess because there is “stuff”' all over the place. Quite a lot must go but what do you get rid of? I'm a lot luckier than some, who re-enter the real world with nothing, and I'm not complaining, just saying things aren't as I want them in my home, and I'm finding decisions difficult in that area. I've met some new friends through FACT Northwest. I was in touch with FACT in prison, and repeated thanks to all of you who kindly sent me birthday and Christmas greetings - you can honestly only guess exactly how much it meant to know that you showed me such genuine care. The Newsletters were read and re-

read and read again, and also found their way to numbers of other prisoners. Since coming back to this town, I've met some local FACT members, and have been to a couple of meetings with them. Those meetings have been full, informative, serious and amusing, and invaluable in helping me to re-find myself. I really am not alone. There are (many) others who have and continue to suffer more than me. My new friends are really nice, cheerful, optimistic, outgoing, welcoming and warm individuals. And they too suffer greatly. Some have been victims of the judicial mill themselves. Some have been in prison; some have not. Some have relatives, friends or other loved ones who have been “investigated”, prosecuted, jailed or not. Whatever their individual concern, however they became involved, they too have a cross to bear, and it is sometimes possible, as a victim of this mess, to (with no malice whatever) minimise or diminish their pain while still acknowledging the enormous amount of work they do on our behalf. I hope they won't mind me saying that they really are “the salt of the earth”. And another thing, about that thinking I really should do less of. A few weeks ago I went out with a couple of the local people who have remained friends throughout my difficulties. We went to a restaurant for a meal with a small group of their friends. The restaurant was excellent, the food so-o-o-o much better than prison food. The company was good, and we all had a very enjoyable time, ate too much, drank (a little) too much, and I got home feeling very much cheered. The thing is, I met this lady, and I think I'd like to meet her again. I know, because my friends told me a few days later that she thinks she'd like to see me again. Now I know this isn't the Problem Page! I don't think FACT even has an agony aunt, but - we didn't talk about my “criminal” past, and she doesn't

know about it at all - no police investigation, no liars, no courts, no prison, nothing. I, on the other hand, do know that she has 2 teenage children. You see the dilemma! You see what I mean about possibly thinking too much! And another other thing, I've just run a spell check on this and, apart from telling me that "so-o-o-o" should be spelt "so", discovered that Windows is politically correct, since it's told me that I should try to make “ lady” not “gender specific” - but I want her to be “gender specific”, in fact, if I do meet her again I will insist on her being “gender specific”. I don't want to even think about the alternative!

F.A.C.T AGM Notice is hereby given
that the F.A.C.T. AGM will take place on Saturday 9th September 2006 at St. Chad’s RC Cathedral Meeting Rooms, Birmingham commencing at 10:30am (time to be confirmed) F.A.C.T. members will shortly receive a map to the venue, a full agenda and nomination forms for the positions of Secretary, and for the two vacant positions of committee member. The A.G.M. will also consider any resolutions members wish to be considered. These should be submitted to the secretary as soon as possible. The F.A.C.T. Autumn conference will follow the AGM For further details contact the secretary 02920 777 499

FACTion / September 2006

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F.A.C.T.
PERSONALIA

Campaign on Behalf of Carers and Teachers Falsely Accused or Wrongly Convicted of Child Abuse

We begin with some very sad news. Ken Mackreth passed away on 25th June. We know he will be sadly missed by family and friends and pass on our condolences to all who knew him. Our round up of local and personal news begins with news of F.A.C.T. North West’s sponsored walk around Carmill Dam. About a dozen or so F.A.C.T. members and supporters, and their three dogs enjoyed a walk around Carmel Damn - a local beauty spot famous for its fishing and watersports. The event was organised by the local committee who described it as a great success. “We not only had sunny weather and excellent company but also raised much needed funds (about £180) for the local group.” The next meeting of FACT North West will take place on Tuesday 15th August at 8pm St Anthony's of Padua, Queens Drive, Mossley Hill. Old and new members are very welcome. F.A.C.T. North Wales now have a new email address: factnorthwales@wrexham.net This address is hosted by Bob Douthwaite and should be used for all routine North Wales matters. The old address: factnorthwales@factuk.org will also continue to function for the time being. F.A.C.T. North Wales recently held its A.G.M. George Jensen was appointed Chair, Roger Griffiths Deputy Chair. Pauline Evans and Michael Barnes agreed to be coopted members. George Jensen has

F.A.C.T. North West Sponsored Walk
also been very busy in compiling a document on how to achieve a positive outcomes in parole applications. George has consulted with a number of people and is very grateful for the information he has obtained. We hope that the final document will be available at the AGM In the Midlands events have been overshadowed by Kevin Donaldson’s conviction and 15 year prison sentence. We understand Kevin’s lawyers are considering an immediate appeal. On a more positive note it was pleasing to see John Whitehead won his claim for unfair dismissal. His case is one of a number of recent cases this month in which F.A.C.T. have been involved and which have had successful outcomes. Another case in which FACT played a key part was that of Mark Sutcliffe. He took his case to an employment tribunal who agreed, without hearing any evidence from Mark, that he was was unfairly dismissed. A delighted Mark said he wanted to place on record his gratitude to F.A.C.T. whose evidence was pivotal to his success, and to Jenni Watson who represented him at the hearing. Jenni was also very upbeat about the result, not least of which because when faced with the evidence Mark’s former employer simply caved in. Jenni, too, was full of praise for evidence provided by F.A.C.T. because it helped pave the way for a successful result and provided key evidence of the employers investigative and disciplinary failings. Elsewhere things have been very quiet, unless of course you know different. We are always very pleased to share a bit of gossip and to catch up on distant events so please let us know what is happening in your area. If you don’t tell us we can’t report it!

F.A.C.T. Helpline 02920 777 499
The F.A.C.T. helpline is normally open from 9:30am to 12:30pm and 6:30pm to 9:30pm Mondays to Fridays, and on occasional Saturday mornings. It is not open Bank Holidays.
Page 16 FACTion / September 2006

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